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Band of Brothers Rewatch, Part 6: Bastogne

Do me a favor, grab a pair of scissors before you come in?

All pictures from a picpams by totallybalancedand tasteofblame.

RECAP: December, 1944, outside Bastogne. Eugene Roe pads through a silent forest. He stoops to investigate something in the snow and cuts his finger. Gene is looking for 3rd Battalion, to replenish medical supplies.

He walks into an array of dead Germans, covered lightly with snow. This is not 3rd Battalion. He backtracks carefully and retreats to 2nd.

Dick Winters breaks the ice covering a pan of water. TO SHAVE. I scream in my mouth a little. Those of you who know my general distaste for facial hair can imagine my delight. The men are living in dirt holes in a freezing forest and Dick Winters is shaving. That’s my boy! Just when you think Winters can’t get any more awesome, he does something like this.

*dances back to the plot*

Dick is shivering and shaving. He hears a twig snap, just as Gene approaches his hole. He whispers to Gene to get down, leaves the hole and approaches the sound. A German is taking his morning constitutional a little too close to 2nd Battalion. Winters doesn’t let him finish. "Kommen sie hier! Schnell!" Winters strips the German of his German bandage, tosses it to Gene, and dispatches the soldier to Regiment. Sink drives up with General McAuliffe, acting Division commander. They want the sitrep.

Strayer reports that they’re gaining ground in some areas and losing in others. They’re in a standoff at the edge of the forest. Winters sings: Ain’t go no food; Ain’t got no clothes; Ain’t got no ammo; Ain’t got no aid station.

There’s a rustle of burlap and Nixon appears. His hole is next door to Winters’. :-D And again demonstrates why we love Nixon much better than (my) words can say. He crawls out of his hole like a seven-year-old wakes up in the morning, all rumpled and bed-headed and sleepy-faced. Sink greets him with only slight irony, dropping that this, ahem, is General McAuliffe and does the Captain have anything he’d like to add. Nix looks sheepish, yet says that, yes, he does have something for the General. Which is that he decided to walk the line at 0300 and did not find the 501st on their right flank, where they should have been. He plugged the hole with a squad from 2nd Battalion, and whatcha think of me now?

What the General thinks is a mystery, because he responds as if he’s in a different conversation entirely. “Hold the line; close the gaps; you’re fogged in so don’t expect air cover. 1st Battalion just pulled out of Foy with Krauts on their tail --- tanks, artillery --- there’s a lot of shit headed this way. And we’re about to have a total eclipse. All your girlfriends wrote to me and said they’re breaking up with you. There is no Santa Claus, and none of your dogs went to live on farms.” He walks around, popping everybody’s balloons, then jumps into his jeep and drives away.

Gene tells Winters that he’s got no plasma, few bandages and little morphine. He tried to find 3rd Battalion, but got lost. Winters has few suggestions.

When Gene says “morphine” I’m reminded of the first time I watched this episode. I’m no expert on regional accents, but even I could tell that this was a Louisiana accent, which means he didn’t do a half-bad job. Shane Taylor is English. I continue to be amazed at how well these actors did with the various American accents they adopted.

Gene finds Spina, the other medic with 2nd Battalion, and gives him the German bandage. Dike wanders in to snap at them about occupying the same location, and then barks for Lipton, who graciously escorts him back to his hidey hole.

After a pause to talk to Guarnere about some urinary issues, Gene makes the rounds to the foxholes. He needs morphine and bandages, but what he’s really focused on is the sizzuhs. Gordon jokes about looking upstairs in the study, for which I am grateful, cause there’s precious little comic relief in this episode. Also, is it me, or does Gordon have the most awesome voice? Like some very seductive Southern Jack Nicholson, only better looking. Much.

Gunfire. Gene tumbles into Babe’s hole. Babe yells at his hole-mate, Replacement Julian, to mind the line. Penkala’s been hit and is yelling for a medic. Gene reaches him and binds his wound, telling him it’s not bad. Penkala must have kinda known this, cause he’d rather stay in his hole than go out in a firestorm to an aid station. Gene is understandably testy that Penkala screamed bloody murder, dragging Gene’s skinny ass through said storm to administer a bandage.

Gene sends Spina to try to reach 3rd Battalion for supplies. Spina takes Babe, who talks along the way about what a little virgin baby replacement he has in his foxhole. Babe falls into a snow-covered foxhole, barely escaping retaliation from the German he fell on. They make it to 3rd, explaining that hey have no aid station and no surgeon. 3rd Battalion aid station offers what they can, as they take gunfire.

Gene finds Lt. Dike and asks for his aid kit, which is given up reluctantly. “What happens if I get hit?” “I’ll be there, sir.” “I don’t plan on getting hit.” Yes, Lieutenant, that does seem to be your plan.

Gene notices Babe. “Heffron, you ok?”
Babe: “Gene, what is with this Heffron bullshit, huh? You know my name; why don’t you use it?”
Gene: “It’s Edward, right?”
Babe: “Edward, are you serious? Only the goddamn nuns call me Edward.”
I would imagine if you’re calling them goddamn nuns, they’re calling you Edward on the phone to your mother.
Gene asks whether Babe still has his moah-phine from Holland and Babe snaps that they’ve already had this conversation.

Gene is in Gordon’s hole. Gordon gives him the morphine collected from 3rd platoon. “You still looking for sizzers?” he asks awesomely. Gordon tells him to try Perconte and gives him a hot drink. Gordon also suggests that Gene visit Joe Toye on the O.P. Joe is missing something. Gene knows what Gordon means and takes off. I know what Gordon suddenly being extra loveable means, and sigh.

Gene finds Toye and demands to see his feet. Toye explains that he took his boots off and they got blown up. Gene notes his size and heads off on his quest for the holy shears.

Through asking nicely, Gene dumps Perconte’s sack on the ground and picks through it. At last. Gene has his sizzuhs. Gene drops in on Alley and Liebgott, who are singing at the top of their lungs. Gene gets morphine from Alley and moves on. Buck appears, freaked to unsettling proportion by the breach in noise discipline, and asks that they be made to shut the fuck up.

Having stripped the battalion of all the supplies he can, Gene crouches in his hole and recites the prayer of St. Francis. “…grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; or To Be Loved as to love, with all my heart. With all my heart.” OMG, he kills that. Listen to how he says that, tacking on the very not-canon last part by his own self. I think we love him.

Darkness. “MEDIC!!!” Skinny Sisk is hit in the leg. Perconte calls for a jeep. Gene removes shrapnel and pours antiseptic powder on the leg, bandaging him for transport. Sisk tells Gene to “save the morphine” which, <3, and they drag him to the jeep. Gene rides into Bastogne with him. He finds the aid station in a church. A nurse in a blue scarf is directing traffic. Gene sees some bad stuff. A medic explains that Bastogne is cut off. No supplies in; no wounded evacuated. Everything stops here. The nurse gives Sisk a big shot of liquor.

At Gene’s request, the nurse gives him what supplies she can spare. Realizing she’s a French-speaker, he asks how she calls herself. (Sorry, I just like the way the French phrase that question.) She says she is “Renee”. He gives his name. She asks where he’s from and he offers that he’s a half-Cajun from Louisiana. “Et toi?” He got to “toi” pretty fast, but I guess it’s wartime... She says she’s from Bastogne. Gene leaves the church and swipes some boots for Joe on the way. Renee comes after him and offers him some chocolat. Man, she’s pretty.

The chaplain is holding a service from the hood of a jeep. The boys are off on a combat patrol. Never Been Kissed Julian offers to be lead, but Martin wants him safe in the bosom of the column. He tells Gene to stay behind, crouch by a tree, and look really tense.

Martin and Julian take cover behind some logs, then Julian goes forward a few steps. What happened to protecting the nuggets? Germans open fire and Julian is hit in the neck; goes down. Martin yells for Bull and Christensen and the rest of the team moves forward to help. It’s a total crapstorm; they are completely pinned down, a few yards from Julian, who is bleeding through the mouth and neck. Babe repeatedly tries to get to him, but is driven back by whistling bullets.

Babe keeps yelling to Julian, telling him not to move so the Germans won’t fire at him. Martin realizes they need to pull back and leave Julian behind. Babe fixes his eyes on Julian, yelling “Stay with us! Look at me! Stay with us! We’re coming back! We’re coming back!” Damn. I’ve watched it four times and I’m crying again just typing it up.

They retreat and hook up with Nixon. Babe wants to go back for Julian. Nix asks whether they encountered the German O.P. or their line; Martin says it was the line. Nixon says they have to fall back.

The boys are huddled around the edge of a foxhole. Gene is at his customary position, a few feet away, against a tree. Winters comes up and quietly says something very Wintersish, like, “I think I’ll sit with you guys” and squeezes in. I find that little moment very sweet, because he talks to them with unnecessary words that are comforting because they’re mundane. The way you talk to a child in distress.

Gene looks at Babe. He takes out his chocolate bar and smells it.

Gene finds Toye and wants to see his feet again. It’s trenchfoot. He tells Joe to massage his feet and keep them dry, or else he’ll lose them to gangrene. Joe snarks the messenger. Gene asks Toye whether he’s seen Babe. “He ain’t in his hole.”

Gene is looking for Babe, because Babe’s not in his hole. I think this is the part where I first stopped to think about how great Eugene Roe is. Because, one, bullets start flying and everyone else takes cover. But the medic gets OUT of his hole and runs in the open, to help the wounded. He stays above ground to do what he can, before dragging the man to safety. While the men are dug in and trying to pass the time, Gene is all about preparing to help them. Running from one to the other, scrounging morphine, bandages, scissors. Beyond that, he’s on the lookout for their emotional health. He’s got an eye on Joe, he’s got an eye on Babe. They snap at him, but he responds gently. He loves them, but from an emotional distance, maybe because it would be too much to be their friends and also be helpless to save them, when that’s his only job --- when he’s their only hope.

Gene is looking for Babe. He finds him with Spina, in his hole. Spina has his arm around Babe; Babe’s head is on Spina’s shoulder. Gene is relieved. I’m gonna cry again. Babe is thoroughly haunted.

Gene takes out his chocolate. The medicine of last resort, I guess. He offers it to Babe, who doesn’t react. Gene breaks off a piece and gives it to Babe, telling him to eat. The chocolate loosens his tongue.

“I promised him if he got hit, I’d get his stuff and bring it to his ma. Now the fuckin’ Krauts will strip him.”
Roe: “It’s ok.”
Babe: “It’s not! It’s not ok! I shoulda got to him.”

Another flare rises above the forest, bursting white, lighting the hole. Babe is asleep. Spina asks Gene what those Cajun healers are called. “Traiteurs.” Gene says that his grandmother was one. “Laid her hands on them and cured them. Took away, sickness, cancer, you name it. I remember she used to pray a lot. Talked to God about the pain she pulled out. Asked him to carry it away. That’s what she did.” That last line is said with such pride that I’m sniffly all over again.

Spina, on the other hand, has not found his genealogical destiny. He didn’t want to be a medic in the first place, he doesn’t want to be a medic now, and he never wants to treat the wounded again.

Planes overhead. Red smoke on the ground. Lipton exposits that the planes escort C-47s, who will drop supplies.

Gene goes to Bastogne to restock. Moving through with his box, he sees Renee with a gravely injured man and runs to help. Gene sticks his hand inside the man, through his wound, to find the artery that’s bleeding. He is angry in French. He can’t get to the artery. The man dies. Gene looks at Renee with an intense scowl, which is either despair or anger or solidarity or love. Maybe all of them. Overhead, the blue ceiling of the church has gold flares bursting.

Gene and Renee sit outside. Gene notices her hands and praises her skills. Renee wants no more war and no more of treating the wounded. “But your touch heals people. That’s a gift from God.” Renee: “That’s not a gift. God would never give such a painful thing.”

Which is a little too on-the-nose for her character, IMO. But I think the point is more to illuminate Gene. Gene thinks of his work, and hers, as a vocation, not just an assignment. And he’s right; she volunteered. She came to help. She wasn’t drafted. She’s just beaten down by it. Gene is clinging to his ministry. He certainly treats the men with great care, and the whole man at that. But Gene is a little soul-starved and needs resupplying. He’s looking for inspiration in God, his grandmother and in Renee.

Buck, Babe and Guarnere are in a hole together. Buck rambles on, several feet over the heads of the other two, about Roman legions and Visigoths. Babe finds a seque back to the chit-chat by asking about college and cheerleaders. Buck can’t remember either one.

Note that the men are correctly responding to Buck’s fragile state by trying to bring him back toward normal all the time. They do what he says; they talk in casual, calming tones. It’s like the flip-side of their barely contained disdain at having to babysit Dike. They care for Buck naturally and with a lot of love. But it’s their behavior, as much as Buck’s that reveals how far gone we all agree that he is.

Gene comes to deliver blankets. The men observe that he never calls anyone by their nickname. Buck is surprised that Babe is an “Edward”. Normally, I’d say that guys named Lynn should maybe keep those kinds of observations to themselves, but the boys are all about nodding in Buck’s direction, so he’s certainly safe from teasing for now.

Morning. The rumbling alerts us that McAuliffe’s “shit” forecast has proven accurate. Lip runs the line, telling the boys to hold their fire and be ready. Gordon is at his machine gun. He steps back and is hit. It looks like his arm, but it must be through to the spine, because he can’t move. They yell for Gene, who takes a minute before coming to life. The men open fire. Lipton and Gene drag Gordon to a safer place, where Gene starts a line. Gordon requests that Lipton stop standing on his hand, which seems like a good sign. Lip promises to get Gordon another purple heart, which sounds like four, now, minus the one he gave to Talbert. So he’s got that going for him. Which is nice.

Bastogne again. Gene explains that Gordon’s had no morphine because he’s paralyzed. Renee looks at Gene and asks whether he’s alright, before she’s called away.

The men line up for one ladle of soup apiece. Roe is dazed, holding up another tree trunk. Winters notices.

Colonel Sink arrives, bearing a Christmas message from General McAuliffe. He must have had somebody write this one for him, because it’s almost encouraging. “We’ve stopped cold everything that’s been thrown at us from the north, east, south and west. Two days ago, the German commander demanded our honorable surrender, to save the U.S. encircled troops from total annihilation. The German commander received this reply: ‘To the German commander: NUTS!’” This must have sounded way less lame in 1944, because the men are cheered and laughing. Sink departs for CP again.

Nighttime. Christmas Eve. Winters wanders by Roe’s hole and watches him sleeping. In the distance, Germans sing Stille Nacht.

Buck shows Guarnere a picture of his girlfriend; Guarnere admires her. “She’s finished with me.” Guarnere thinks the timing sucks. Buck laughs when it’s not funny, which is movie code for “crazy”. Aw, Buck.

Malarkey remembers that he has cigarettes for the men in his hole. (Now stop it.) He hands one to Muck and to Penkala, who needs help even smoking, he’s shivering so hard. In their hole, Martin, Hoobler and Perconte make imaginary snow-cones.

Winters comes upon Harry and Peacock over a small fire and says that fire’s not a good idea.

Harry: “Just a couple of minutes. We’re in a dell.”
Winters: “A dell? Like where fairies and gnomes live?”
Nixon approaches: “I thought I smelled fire.” Ok, if that’s your story, Nix. *sigh* See? It’s Bastogne. My slash just won’t stick to this episode. “I did smell a fire. Are you out of your mind?”
Winters: “We’re in a dell.”
Nixon: “Huh?”

It’s this kind of thing that just really makes Winters for me. Of course we heart him because he’s a hero. He’s a magnificent leader; he never screws around. He’s brave, thrifty, clean and reverent. He always knows what to do and he always does the right thing. But that would be a little boring, except that, through Damian Lewis’ great performance, Winters has a lot going on behind that stoic face. It’s the knowing looks, the soft spot for a very fallible Nixon, and these tiny moments of sarcasm and lightness that make me love him.

Ok, sorry, where are my manners: Harry’s been hit. Badly, in the leg. Nixon calls for a jeep. They yell for Gene, but he’s frozen, probably not literally, in his hole. Babe finds him and pulls him out; as he goes, Gene accidentally cuts Babe’s hand. Gene stands staring at Winters and Welsh. Winters calls out to him, in that controlled but commanding tone, and Gene snaps to life. Tourniquet, powder, bandage, morphine. He marks Harry’s forehead with an “M” in blood, and gets him to the jeep. Winters tells Gene to get a hot meal while he’s in town.

No meal for Gene; Bastogne is being bombed. As they ride into town, Gene throws his body over Harry to protect him from further harm. They get to the church that was the aid station, but the entrance is a smoking pile of rubble. Gene finds Renee’s blue scarf. Someone yells for a medic, and he reluctantly moves on.

Back on the line, Gene walks past Winters, who watches him go. Gene slumps into the hole with Babe.

Gene: “Everything ok? Babe?”
Babe: “Yeah.”
Gene notices Babe’s hand. “How’d you do that?”
Babe: “You did that.”
Gene: “I’ll fix it up.”
He has no bandages, but he has Renee’s blue scarf. He hesitates, then rips it in half to wrap Babe’s hand.
Babe: “Hey, Gene. You called me Babe.”
Gene: “I did? When?”
Babe: “Just now.”
Gene. “Baaabe. Yes I did.”
Babe laughs and imitates Gene’s intonation.
Gene: “Heffron. Watch the goddamn line.”

We learn that, on December 26, Patton’s 3rd Army broke through German lines, allowing supplies and evacuations to flow. The story of the Battle of the Bulge is of Patton’s army coming to the rescue of the encircled 101st Airborne. No member of the 101st has ever agreed that the division needed rescue.

One more thing: When I first watched, I was wondering whether we were supposed to understand that Sisk and Gordon, who were at the aid station in Bastogne, had been killed, along with Renee, in the bombing. Apparently they did survive the attack. 

Poll #1306978 Bastogne

Let’s all chip in. What should we get Dike for Christmas?

A suit of armor.
Some balls.
A leg wound and a ticket home.

Best performance of an American accent by a British, Scottish or Irish actor:

Brit Damian Lewis as Dick Winters
Scotsman Ross McCall as Joe Liebgott.
Brit Dexter Fletcher as John Martin.
Brit Rick Warden as Harry Welsh.
Irishman Peter O’Meara as Norman Dike.
Brit Marc Warren as Albert Blithe.
Brit Shane Taylor as Eugene Roe.
Scotsman Robin Laing as Babe Heffron.

Worst OMFG Moment:

General McAuliffe fancies himself a leader of men.
Julian is hit and Babe tries to save him.
Skinny Sisk is hit in the leg.
Smokey Gordon is hit in the spine.
Harry Welsh is hit in the leg.
Eugene Roe goes shoulder-deep into a dying man.
Renee is killed.
Buck is just gone.

Best OMG Moment:

Dick Winters is shaving!
Gene runs through gunfire to help Penkala.
Gene runs through gunfire to help Sisk.
Gene runs through gunfire to help Gordon.
Gene runs through PTSD to help Welsh.
C-47s finally drop supplies.
We tell the German commander to fuck off, old-school.

Best Bromantic Moment:

Sisk tells Gene to save the morphine for the other guys.
Babe tries to save Julian.
Gene and Spina comfort Babe.
Winters looks out for Gene.
Babe and Guarnere act like Buck is not at all crazy.
Gene calls Heffron “Babe”.

The person I most want to wrap in a comforter and feed hot chocolate.

Dick Winters, just for the shaving thing.
Lewis Nixon, just because he’d totally be up for some post-hot-chocolate activities.
Smokey Gordon, just to hear him say…anything.
Eugene Roe, just to see him smile.
Buck Compton, just so maybe he’d come back to us.
Carwood Lipton, because when do I NOT want to do that?



( 50 comments — Leave a comment )
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Dec. 1st, 2008 10:15 am (UTC)
Okay, poll complaint. You needed one last smart-ass choice for the accent question. I chose Roe, just because a Cajun accent is tricky and I was freakin' shocked to find out he's British. Plus it's his episode. But each one of those accents is as impressive as the last.

I've watched this episode several times and it always makes me cry and it always makes me want to huddle under four blankets as I watch.

I'm reading Ambrose's book and I just finished the Bastogne chapter. I have a couple of interesting things to add.

Yes, Gordon looked like he got hit in the arm. The bullet went into one shoulder, brushed his spinal column, and exited the other. (Everyone take a moment to close your eyes and shudder.) The doctors told him that half an inch in one direction the bullet would have missed him. Half an inch in the other and it would have killed him. But the cool update is that after months of being held immobile in one of those contraptions that puts steel pins into your skull, he actually began to recover and gain feeling in his extremities. No word on how far he recovered, though.

Also, I'm quoting a relevant passage. This is what Foley had to say, years later.

"He was there when he was needed, and how he got there you often wondered. He never received recognition for his bravery, his heroic servicing of the wounded. I recommended him for a Silver Star after a devastating firefight when his exploits were typically outstanding. Maybe I didn't use the proper words and phrases, perhaps Lieutenant Dike didn't approve, or somewhere along the line it was cast aside. I don't know. I never knew except that if any man struggled in the snow and the cold, in the many attacks through the open and through the woods, ever deserved such a medal, it was our medic, Gene Roe."

And how proud am I that I managed to not insert a comment on the word "servicing?" You're right, mary, slash doesn't wanna stick to this one.

More later.
Dec. 1st, 2008 12:25 pm (UTC)
and it always makes me want to huddle under four blankets as I watch.
That's the thing that strikes me every time I was this episode. I just feel so cold. It could be in the middle of a summer heatwave, and I'm cold.

I continue to be blown away with what they had to deal with there. I can't imagine how they were able to come out alive. The things Roe saw and had to do were just unfathomable.
Dec. 1st, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC)
No word on how far he recovered, though.

I think he recovered completely. Though I'm sorta resisting finding out more than I already know about the real men until I finish this rewatch, I did find this on the website of some historian (?) named Mark Bando:

Walter S. "Smokey" Gordon was an original member of Easy Company and fought all the battles until seriously wounded at Bastogne. His wound was so serious that he barely escaped death and was not able to rejoin the company. When I met Walter at the 1976 Reunion in NYC, he was in 'Oil Properties'in LA.

The Walter Gordon character in the miniseries had relatively little dialogue and this was evident to me and probably to his family as well. I didn't know Gordon in the 1940's, but I did know him in the 70's. I recall him as a large man, with an extroverted but pleasant personality and a very definite 'physical presence'. If I remember correctly, his WW2 buddies used to call him 'Senator Claghorn' or something to that effect, at the reunions. He was a boisterous and funny man, projecting the demeanor of a stereotyped southern politician. While I interviewed him, he made funny facial expressions with his mouth between answers. All the while, I believe he was aware he was entertaining you; he was definitely a character! We hit it off just fine and it's so hard for me to believe that he is gone now. Walter Gordon passed away on 19 April, 1997.

There's also a photo of Gordon from the 70s, sitting sideways in a chair. He doesn't look paralyzed at all.

This is interesting, from the same site:

"They got us surrounded, the poor bastards!" Such was the battle cry as the 101st made it's historic stand at Bastogne. But to the men doing the fighting, it was a grim, miserable period. As John Tocco of the 326th AEB put it: "You lived like an animal, in a frozen hole in the ground. You started to think and react like an animal-you couldn't help it."

After leaving Bastogne, James K. Howell of I/502 found himself on outpost duty in Alsace-Lorrane. At that time he observed: "It was during this duty that I realized how much of an animal I had turned into. My senses and instincts were very acute. I could actually hear and analyze small rodents running through the grass. When a bird or birds fluttered in the bushes and trees, I could determine if it was normal or if some unusual action had caused this movement. It occurred to me that, no doubt this was why I was still alive."

Okay, poll complaint. You needed one last smart-ass choice for the accent question.

Sorry, I'm not accepting complaints this week. :-) But I know...I couldn't choose, so I broke my own rule and voted for all of them.
Dec. 1st, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
MM, you clearly have a great deal of influence with the weather gods. Thanks.

Before I plunge back into reading the recap I have to make my personal comment here. My father's oldest brother, Tommy, was not a nice man. He very rarely spoke, and when he did it was often either insulting to someone (although in the form of a backward compliment) or just mean. One time he said something pretty nasty to my mom, which is sort of like kicking a puppy who is offering you a daisy on a bent stem. When I asked my father why his brother was such a yutz he told me that "Tommy was at the Bulge with Patton. He was never really the same."

I was trying, knowing this recap was coming, to figure out exactly where he would have been in relation to the 101st, but haven't yet. But in my looking around on-line I found this-

"For Operation Greif, Otto Skorzeny successfully infiltrated a small part of his battalion of disguised, English-speaking Germans behind the Allied lines. Although they failed to take the vital bridges over the Meuse, the battalion’s presence produced confusion out of all proportion to their military activities, and rumors spread quickly. Even General Patton was alarmed and, on 17 December, described the situation to General Eisenhower as “Krauts… speaking perfect English… raising hell, cutting wires, turning road signs around, spooking whole divisions, and shoving a bulge into our defences.”

Checkpoints were set up all over the Allied rear, greatly slowing the movement of soldiers and equipment. Military policemen drilled servicemen on things which every American was expected to know, such as the identity of Mickey Mouse’s girlfriend, baseball scores, or the capital of Illinois. This last question resulted in the brief detention of General Bradley; although he gave the correct answer—Springfield—the GI who questioned him apparently believed the capital was Chicago."

Dec. 1st, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
I continue to be blown away with what they had to deal with there. I can't imagine how they were able to come out alive. The things Roe saw and had to do were just unfathomable.

No kidding. I am just filled with so much respect for these guys. The other day mary and I were discussing something similar, how watching Bastogne makes you want to stop whining about your own piddly little problems because for God's sake, look what these guys did.

"They got us surrounded, the poor bastards!"

That line was in the book, too, and I think it really is how they got through it. They held that line, in the face of just ridiculous odds. I can only imagine the German higher-ups frustrated and furious that their tanks and their well-supplied troops could just not break this line of American paratroopers. God bless 'em.

And back to Roe, our featured hero of the week, can I just say how much I love his voice? His accent is part of it, but not all. He has a deep voice for such a slight man. Plus that pale skin and blue-black hair. Quite the sexy bastard.
Dec. 1st, 2008 04:55 pm (UTC)
I agree, aunt_deen, though I think his hair is not so black in RL.

I found some cute pics of him (saving for later) and this, on some website.

Most Emotional Experience - (In his own words) The most emotional experience I had however was after the show had finished filming and I met the family of Eugene Roe at the Paris premiere. It was a moment I will never forget. It made everything complete. Everything made sense. It was real. That time will never leave me.
Dec. 1st, 2008 05:28 pm (UTC)
Tommy was at the Bulge with Patton. He was never really the same.

Wow. Imagine how awful he'd have been if he'd been with the airborne. At least he had some tanks backing him up.

Krauts… speaking perfect English… raising hell, cutting wires, turning road signs around, spooking whole divisions, and shoving a bulge into our defences.

That's interesting. I wonder if the Americans did anything similar? I'm trying to imagine Liebgott and Webster undercover as Krauts. Liebgott would have been unable to hide his hatred and Webster never would have volunteered for it in the first place.

Dec. 1st, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
That would have been the Hogan's Heroes version of BoB that we never got to see. Probably for the best.
Dec. 1st, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
Buck laughs when it’s not funny, which is movie code for “crazy”. Aw, Buck.

The part I found chilling (hah) was when Buck, Babe, and Guarnere are in the hole and Roe comes up behind them. Babe & Guarnere spin around to point their weapons at a possible enemy approach. Buck just stares out at the line. And I don't think it was because he figured the other two could check behind them so he should continue to watch the line.

I really loved the "You don't look like an Edward" line. It's one of the few times in this episode I laughed, even though it was another moment of Buck's spooky detachment.
Dec. 1st, 2008 07:58 pm (UTC)
Your comment about Gene's accent is so true. In fact not only is he doing a Louisiana accent, he is actually doing a real Cajun accent, straight from Lake Charles. Great research, since there are three distinct, regional accents in LA-the general, mostly upstate, southern sounding one, the New Orleans Yat accent (which sounds shockingly like Brooklynese), and the Cajun one.

Those Brits, coming over here, taking our women, and jobs, and regional distinctions.
Dec. 1st, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
They can have our women. They can have our women anytime they want.
(no subject) - misreall - Dec. 1st, 2008 08:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 1st, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
Gordon also suggests that Gene visit Joe Toye on the O.P. Joe is missing something. Gene knows what Gordon means and takes off.

You know, I don't think Gene did know what Gordon meant. When he goes to see Toye and ... who is it? Christianson? Foley? Anyway, Gene says something like, "Toye, you missin' somethin'?" And Toye's buddy says, "Ask him to dance, Doc." At that point, Gene gets it and demands to see Toye's feet, which appear to be wrapped in burlap or something.

And there's another moment I thought was really good. After the 'nuts' message from the general, the men seem heartened and amused by the whole thing. Fuck you, Krauts. We ain't never letting you cross this line. You tell 'em, General. But Roe, crouching against a nearby tree, doesn't seem so cheerful. I think here we get a sense of the differing outlook between a soldier and a medic. Whereas a soldier's mission is kill the enemy and never retreat, a medic's mission is to keep the men alive. Roe would never have wanted surrender, but I'm sure he's thinking that a surrender would mean no more of his men would get blown up.
Dec. 1st, 2008 11:10 pm (UTC)
I think here we get a sense of the differing outlook between a soldier and a medic. Whereas a soldier's mission is kill the enemy and never retreat, a medic's mission is to keep the men alive.

Yeah, that's a good point. And like many jobs, his is more of a "proccess" thing. The soldiers can count the number they kill or gain ground, or complete a mission. Gene's job is just a neverending stream of wounded. He never really gains ground, so he doesn't have that feeling of accomplishment. They fight; he enables and supports them.
Dec. 1st, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC)
Ok, I didn't get to rewatch this yet, so I am going to be a bit vague, but one of the things I remember about this episode is how beautiful the woods are. They are in hell, and hell is beautiful. Hell is beautiful and because it is hell the only person who seems able to enjoy it is Dike, because he is an idiot.

I love your take on Eugene seeing this as a vocation and a calling. His belief seems to be what protects him as he runs from foxhole to foxhole. That and the fact that he must have been the sprinting champion of Planquemine Parish High. The guy isn't even that winded, considering.

The dell may be my favorite exchange in the whole series. I love Harry (probably because he was 82nd before he was 101st!), and I find it hilarious that the word dell would just spring to his lips at that moment.

Actually, I think this might be my favorite episode of the series, if favorite is a word that can be applied in this situation.
Dec. 1st, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
My favorite ep, EVER.

When I first heard Gene's accent, my jaw hit the floor. I didn't even know Shane Taylor was British.
Dec. 2nd, 2008 12:27 am (UTC)
I know, right? He's amazing. (Love your icon!)

I found this in my travels --- it seems to be a website for a talent agency that handles actors for voiceover jobs, and he's listed:

Shane Taylor
Young, cool and streetwise with a calm confidence. British voice with excellent USA characters and dialects.

From here: http://www.vocalpoint.net/mvo/uk/

If you go there, you might be able to hear a sample of his voiceover skills, which would be fun. (It wouldn't play for me.)
(no subject) - aunt_deen - Dec. 2nd, 2008 01:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tomfoolery815 - Dec. 2nd, 2008 06:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - foofighter0234 - Dec. 2nd, 2008 05:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - marymary - Dec. 2nd, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - foofighter0234 - Dec. 4th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 2nd, 2008 12:34 am (UTC)
one of the things I remember about this episode is how beautiful the woods are.

Yeah, especially when the flares go up or when it snows. And I mentioned in the recap that I saw sort of a symmetry between the sky lit by white flares and the church ceiling painted with gold stars. I hadn't noticed that until this time through. Both places beautiful above, as the agony plays out on the ground.

They are in hell, and hell is beautiful.

Yes. They hit that even harder in Breaking Point, from Lipton's POV.

I find it hilarious that the word dell would just spring to his lips at that moment.


I love Harry (probably because he was 82nd before he was 101st!)

I didn't know that!

Dec. 2nd, 2008 12:54 am (UTC)
They are in hell, and hell is beautiful.

It really is. Even beyond the trees and the softly-falling snow (and yes, the flares and even the artillery) I was struck by the hushed sounds. Everything is slightly muffled in the snow.

His belief seems to be what protects him as he runs from foxhole to foxhole. That and the fact that he must have been the sprinting champion of Planquemine Parish High. The guy isn't even that winded, considering.

Well, he had to run up and down Curahee with the rest of the guys. Plus I read in the book that one of the criteria for deciding who'd be a medic was weight. They chose slightly smaller men to be medics because they could load them down with more weight when they jumped. The smaller guys carried the most weight, oddly enough. The only guys who carried more than medics were the machine gun crews. So with the constant movement and the heavy loads, I'd guess Eugene was in better shape than most of the men in the company.

And I just rewatched part of Crossroads (I have two disks at a time from Netflix and I can't stop rewatching them) and I noticed the moment that Gene brings Winters a cup of coffee. Winters has just gotten the promotion to battalion commander. He's feeling a bit at sea, a little anxious about his men, a little trepidatious. And Genie spots it and is right at his elbow with the coffee. Winters thanks him and accepts it and Gene gives him a smile and a gentle pat on the arm and a quiet, "All right."

I heart him very much.

Edited at 2008-12-02 12:56 am (UTC)
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